Sketching in Bude….

I managed to get out for a few hours today, sketching in Bude. The first effort is a pen and wash of ‘The Pink House’ which is situated by the sea lock at Budehaven. It gave me a chance to try out my new travel brushes (see my last blog)… Well one of them anyway. After the initial ink sketch I used the squirrel mop brush for the whole wash thingy. It’s a brilliant brush, beautifully points and carries a lot of water/paint. It took me about 1 1/2 hours to complete. That ran me up to lunchtime, then after lunch I did a quick sketch facing the other way towards the visitor centre. Not completely finished, but enough to work with, supported by a few photos. The weather is supposed to be good tomorrow as well so I might set out early and get some sketching done at Widemouth Bay before my art group meets. All in all, a reasonably successful day. 

Happy painting

Rosemary & Co travel brushes

Just had my first experience ordering from Rosemary & Co online. What a superb service! I ordered yesterday and they are in my hands today. Not only that, the quality seems to be brilliant. After attending a David Bellamy workshop last week I was very impressed with the brushes he was using. I ended up buying a no. 6 and no. 1 rigger from him. They point beautifully and hold a LOT of paint/water. I decided when I got Home that my plein air equipment doesn’t really need the kitchen sink so I checked out the Rosemary & Co website for some travel brushes. These are Kolinsky Sable brushes and they didn’t break the bank (unlike the Escoda set I was looking at on Bromleys). I will definitely be re-visiting the site to purchase further items. I still need a flat brush and could also be tempted with the comb brush. Here’s some pics of my brushes and I can’t wait to try them out. 

Happy painting


Watercolour added. ‘Budehaven Boat Hire’

Budehaven Boat Hire
Watercolour on Arches NOT paper. 140lb 1/4 imperial. While waiting for my Art Club to start, I had a stroll along the canal basin at Bude to look for a suitable subject to paint. This scene caught my eye and I duly snapped it on my iPad. I fancied a go at painting some figures as I tend to shy away from them! I did a sketch first, then progressed to the painting which took about 4 hours. A fairly restricted pallette of Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine,  Cad red, Cad Yellow, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Aureolin, light red and a touch of gouache to recover some lost whites.

Budehaven Boat Hire. Watercolour on Arches NOT paper. 140lb. 1/4 Imperial.
Budehaven Boat Hire. Watercolour on Arches NOT paper. 140lb. 1/4 Imperial.

Just booked on David Bellamy’s Art Workshop at Sidmouth….

Whilst following a link from Jem Bowden’s website regarding a workshop he’s running next year, I discovered that David Bellamy (no….. Not THAT David Bellamy…. Gwapple me gwapenuts) but none other than one of my favourite artists is running a 3 day workshop at East Devon Art Academy. To say I’m excited is putting it mildly. I’m broke now until payday, but who cares. I’m really happy. I have loads of his books and DVD’s. It will be a BIG plein air experience. Roll on June 8th – 10th 🙂

Happy painting


Steve Hall’s ‘My Way With Watercolour’ – my 2p’s worth……

As I sit here on this miserable Tuesday afternoon, what better way to spend it than with a good book. I popped out this morning to track down the latest bargain from Aldi (18v battery drill to be precise), only to find on my return Steve Halls latest book on watercolour in my mailbox. On a day like today the idiot postman had left it sticking out of the mailbox. Fortunately it hadn’t got wet. For those of you who don’t know of Steve Hall, his style of painting is very much in the Ted Wesson/Ted Seago vein, but sufficiently different for him to be his own man. Well, what can I say. The book is inspiring, crammed full of Steve’s paintings as well as excellent advice on watercolour painting. It really makes me want to emulate the style contained within its covers. I have other books and DVD’s by Steve, but this book, for me, is the icing on the cake. Did someone mention cake?? That’s a great idea with a cup of coffee while I carry on reading. 

Happy painting


Bude Art Society Easter Exhibition

My local Art Society has an exhibition running over Easter (14th to 17th April 2017). It’s situated at the Tourist Information Centre at Bude. Details here.

Four of my paintings are featured in the exhibition. I will also be stewarding on Sunday and Monday morning between 10 a.m. and 1.00 p.m.

Entrance is free, so if you are in the area please consider paying a visit.

Happy painting.


Fame at last!

Hi everybody

Today I have been approached by Painters Online, which is the online community of ‘The Artist’ and ‘Leisure Painter’ magazines, to write a short piece about my recent artwork “Saint Michaels Mount”. It will appear in the E Newsletter that they electronically circulate to their subscriber list in March. Small steps, but to say I’m chuffed is an understatement! I will be posting my ramblings here after I’ve composed it. In the meantime this is the painting they want me to write about, just in case you missed it!

Here’s the link to the Painters Online enewsletter, featuring my painting. Click here.

Happy painting


Saint Michael’s Mount – Marazion. Acrylic on Galeria paper. 20″ x 16″.

A useful framing gadget….

It’s been a long time since I added anything to my blog page, so today I thought I’d write a short piece about a very useful tool I’ve just purchased. It’s a framing tab gun which drives in tabs like the little tabs you get on ready made frames. This particular project is an entry for this years ‘Golden Brush’ award at my local art group.

I started out by reclaiming an old frame I picked up at a car boot sale last year for a couple of quid. there was a completed jigsaw in the frame, which was promptly dumped. I then set about re-sizing the frame to suit my watercolour. I took about 3″ out of the length and about 2″ out of the height and re-cut the glass to suit.

After trimming the backboard and cutting a mount to size I then replaced all the old fixings (which were rusty panel pins) with this new gadget. I was very impressed with the ease of use and the fact that the new tabs are perfectly flat, something which is impossible with a ready made frame. When you bend the pins you can never get them perfectly flat again. So… job done. I’ve yet to venture into actually making any frame from scratch, but I have all the necessary tools to do this now. I just need to source a local glazing place for the glass. Here’s some pictures of the gun and the finished framed painting.

Happy painting everyone


A ‘perfect day’ in the studio

It seems that the lovely spell of weather has forsaken us for the time being, so I have been busy in the studio with my acrylics. I recently picked up a couple of wonderful books by E John Robinson and Dave White on painting seascapes. The first one in oils and the last one in acrylics. They are superb and inspiring books. I didn’t, however want to copy anything in there slavishly, but I did want to work on the techniques outlined. So I set to with an idea in my head and sort of made it up as I went along. My palette was:

Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Cobalt Blue, Pthalo Green, Cadmium Yellow and plenty of Titanium White.

Total painting time was about 3 hours. I’m getting used to painting with acrylics now, and I am not as wary of them as I was at the first. Anyway, there is room for improvement, but I’m quite pleased with the way this turned out.

Happy painting everyone.


A Perfect Day
A Perfect Day. Acrylic on Canvas Board. 16″x12″.

Another Trip To Bude

It’s been a while since I’ve updated my blog, so I thought I’d put keyboard to iMac. Today’s trip was to Bude. This is becoming a regular haunt for me to paint these days, but there are so many subjects there and the weather always seem to be kind, if a little breezy. Anyway. Todays subject was the Castle. I was itching to try out my new set of proportional dividers that I purchased on eBay. So I set up by the Bandstand with my trusty pencil in hand, measuring dimensions and angles. The dividers are absolutely brilliant. Can’t think how I managed without them. Trouble is it took me so long to accurately draw the building, I ran short of time as lunch was fast approaching. Also the UEFA football kicked off on the green in front of the Castle in the shape of several young lads. Now I wasn’t going to tell them that no ball games were allowed, so I red-carded myself to the safety of the tearoom before any stray footballs put paid to my easel. After lunch I just lazed about for an hour before heading for home. No time to finish what I started. I’ve continued with the painting tonight, but I still haven’t finished it yet. I’ll post it here when it’s completed. It’s another pastel.

Bye for now.


bude castle_edited-1
Bude Castle – Pastel on Clairefontaine Pastelmat paper. 35cmx25cm.